Luge is one of the seven Olympic sports currently featured in the Winter Olympic Games program, and has been a constant presence since it was first introduced at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Since then, Olympic luge competition has taken place in the form of three events: men's singles, women's singles, and doubles. Technically, the doubles is considered a mixed event (open for both men and women), but since its debut it has been traditionally entered only by male pairs.
German luger Georg Hackl is the overall medal leader in the sport, having collected a total of five medals (three golds and two silvers) in the men's singles, during the six Winter Games in which he competed (1988–2006). Following his victory at the 1992 Winter Olympics, Hackl was the first male luger to successfully defend an Olympic title, in 1994. By repeating this feat in Nagano 1998, he joined two other men (Swedish figure skater Gillis Grafström and German skier Ulrich Wehling) and two women (Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie and American speed skater Bonnie Blair) who had won the same individual event in three consecutive Olympic Games. Hackl was also the first-ever Olympian to win at least one medal in five consecutive Olympics. This effort was matched by Armin Zöggeler of Italy, who won his fifth straight Olympic medal (bronze) in the men's singles at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. In 2002, Zöggeler outperformed Hackl and prevented him from reaching a unique fourth successive gold medal. Four years later, in Turin, Zöggeler became the second male luger to win back-to-back titles. Ten-time World Cup championMarkus Prock of Austria never fulfilled his success at Olympic level: in 1992 and 1994, Prock beat Georg Hackl to the World Cup title, but ended up losing the Olympic gold medal to the German.
In the women's event, Germany's Silke Kraushaar leads the medal count with three, one of each color. Steffi Martin and Sylke Otto—at 36, the oldest female individual gold medalist at the Winter Games—are the only lugers with two gold medals in their career. Ortrun Enderlein, representing the Unified Team of Germany, was the first woman to win the singles event in 1964. She was on the verge of defending her title at the 1968 Grenoble Games, having the best overall time after all the runs, but was disqualified together with fellow countrywomen Anna-Maria Müller (2nd) and Angela Knösel (4th) when it was discovered that the runners in their sleds had been illegally heated before the runs. Müller made up for this by taking the gold medal at the following Games, in Sapporo, Japan.
As of the 2010 Winter Olympics, 117 medals (40 gold, 38 silver, and 39 bronze) have been awarded to 105 lugers (53 in the singles and 52 in the doubles) representing nine National Olympic Committees (NOC). German lugers—representing the Unified Team of Germany (1964), West Germany (1968–1988), East Germany (1968–1988), and Germany (1992–2010)—have dominated this sport, collecting a total of 70 medals (27 gold, 22 silver, and 21 bronze). There were seven occasions when a single NOC filled the podium with its athletes and in all of them they were German. After the Vancouver Games, Germany is the current medal-leading NOC in the sport with 31 medals (13 gold, 10 silver, and 8 bronze), surpassing East Germany's 29 medals.